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From $3,000 per client number cruncher to $300,000 ‘wing man’ By Evan Bulmer from EBAA on Jan 16, 2015

From $3,000 per client number cruncher to $300,000 ‘wing man’

I was recently talking to Evan Bulmer from EBBA about his journey with business advisory service implementation. Evan’s story is incredibly successful and inspiring. I asked him to share a few ideas for Smithink 2020 readers, and he will also be presenting at our Business Advisory Conference in February, see below (introduction by Mark Holton):

For over twelve years I was a compliance tax-based practitioner who used a time-based in arrears-billing model. Today, I earn between $25,000 and $300,000 per client per year.

As a compliance accountant, I like most other practitioners was battling with debtors, productivity issues, billable hours and to be quite honest, I found it to be boring just recording history for clients.

My passion was helping my clients grow their businesses but at that point in my career I didn’t know how to start being that type of accountant. In the early days I would attend a client’s AGM and instead of just presenting their compliance accounts and reporting on it, I also found myself going into a passionate ‘song and dance routine’ of how they can improve last year’s results.

Occasionally the client ‘got’ what was being said and implemented strategies to improve the business, most did not.

Along that journey, Mark Holton introduced me to some cool tools like MYOB ProfitOptimiser, which helped tell a great story of how to improve a business. My clients absolutely loved seeing their business up in lights. However, due to the model I was running at the time, there were never enough hours in the day and the financial results from my business were unrewarding.

My whole business and my income changed when I was introduced to the concept of upfront billing and value based priced services.

It was fantastic.

Finally, I had a way of delivering tangible results to clients and profit growth in a way where I was rewarded based on the value I delivered. This allowed me to sell to my clients, a results or outcome based business improvement service instead of a bill by the hour service.

I discovered the power of offering different package options when selling my services to my clients. And – I can tell you it is not uncommon for a client to choose a method of working with me that is the most expensive option on the table, but has the greatest value to them.

What I love so much about it is playing a critical role in helping clients achieve exponential growth – seeing them go from struggling making very little profit to making a small tweak to what they’re doing and experience a dramatic profit increase…like a $30,000 profit turning into $1million profit which is what one of my clients experienced.

The secret?

The surprising thing for me in this journey is that the tools and methodologies for delivering these services is largely the same as it was before when I was a compliance, tax-based based Accountant.

It’s also everything that you as an accountant should be doing right now. It’s just that you are not articulating the value of what you do before you do it so you are not maximising the financial outcome for yourself.

Using these tools and techniques have enabled me to charge extremely high fees like a $300K business services gig whilst the client retains the $30,000 compliance accountant. I have also converted $600 tax returns where the tax agent rang me and said the client didn’t pay, into a $25,000 project with a $7,000 deposit before I started work.

The reason I share this is that clients want to grow their business and they would love their accountant to help them. It’s just that many accountants focus simply on the tax aspect and clients see that as something they need to pay for but don’t see value in. By articulating the value of what else you can do for them in their business, a whole new world of income opportunities opens up for your firm as well as a whole new world of growth opportunities open up for the client.


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